New York City to require all city workers – including the NYPD, firefighters, and teachers – get vaccinated

An NYPD vehicle in New York.
An NYPD vehicle in New York. Tim Drivas Photography/Getty Images

New York City plans to require that all city workers be vaccinated against COVID-19 by the middle of September or be tested for the disease weekly.

The vaccine requirement is expected to affect about 340,000 municipal workers, including teachers, firefighters, and NYPD officers.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio officially announced the mandate in a Monday-morning press conference.

The mandate will take effect on September 13 and will require workers who refuse to get vaccinated to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing, de Blasio said. For workers in high-risk health and hospital settings, including foster care, shelters, and senior centers, the mandate is expected to take effect on August 16.

De Blasio called September the “pivot point of recovery” as employers, students, and other residents are expected to return in full to the city.

Ahead of the requirement, de Blasio said that as of August 2, authorities would again enforce the unvaccinated mask mandate for all city employees.

De Blasio also called for private businesses to require employees to get the jab.

“My message to the private sector is to go as far as you can go,” de Blasio said, urging private employers to “at minimum” require all their employees to get vaccinated or do weekly testing.

In a statement to Insider after the announcement, the director of New York City’s largest municipal workers union called for de Blasio to “bargain.”

“While we encourage everyone to get vaccinated and support measures to ensure our members’ health and well-being, weekly testing is clearly subject to mandatory bargaining,” said Henry Garrido, District Council 37’s executive director. “New York City is a union town and that cannot be ignored.”

The United Federation of Teachers said it supported the new city requirement.

“Vaccination and testing have helped keep schools among the safest places in the city,” a UFT spokesperson said. “This approach puts the emphasis on vaccination but still allows for personal choice and provides additional safeguards through regular testing. There are still many things to do before we are prepared to safely open our schools in September.”

Representatives for the city’s fire and police unions did not immediately provide comment when reached by Insider.

About 70% of hospital workers in New York City have been fully vaccinated, state data said, compared to 74% across the state.

Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi said the requirement is a needed push for “stronger medicine to deal with Delta, and that’s why we are taking these steps today.”

For New Yorkers who are vaccinated or tested negative, de Blasio announced plans for a new “NYC COVID Safe” app that would allow users to show their status. The app is set to debut on August 2 as an additional tool to paper vaccination cards and the state’s Excelsior Pass.

About 54% of New York City residents are fully vaccinated, and 59% have had at least one dose, city data said. De Blasio previously expressed support for stricter vaccine mandates in the public and private sector amid concerns over the highly infectious Delta variant.

“If people want freedom, if want jobs, if people want to live again, we have got to get more people vaccinated and obviously it’s time for whatever mandates we can achieve,” de Blasio said in a July 23 interview with WNYC’s Brian Lehrer.